News 12 First at Five/ July 9, 2012
HEPHZIBAH, Ga.--One man is in jail, and his girlfriend is dead, after investigators say Todd Goff strangled his 22-year-old girlfriend Saturday.
An autopsy at the GBI crime lab in Atlanta Monday confirms that the cause of death is strangulation. Investigators are in the process of securing warrants for Goff, and he will be charged in Salter's murder.
It happened on Reynolds Street in Hephzibah, and the murder has shattered Tiffany Salter's family.
They say Goff was an abusive boyfriend, and they hope others in abusive relationships will learn a lesson from this.
Investigators found Salter's body in the woods behind the couple's home. It's a death her family says never should have happened. "I just wish she would come back, but she's not," says
"It just breaks my heart that the girl had to endure this. And she was killed over such a ridiculous incident," says Aimee Hall, the Executive Director for Safe Homes Augusta.
Investigators say Tiffany Salter's boyfriend, Todd Goff, called his mother early Saturday morning and told her the two had gotten into an argument. He admitted he choked her, and she was not breathing.
Investigators found her body in the woods behind the couple's home, not far from a freshly dug hole.
"We wanted to help her. We didn't want this to happen. We tried everything we could," says Salter's friend, Kimber McKinney.
Salter's family says Goff was an abusive boyfriend, and they tried several times to get her to leave.
"When you have a child that's already grown up, they're out of your house. No, you really can't control what they do. You just hope and pray that they will see what you see," explains Tiffany's father, John Salter.
"The only way that they were going to separate is for one of them to be forced to separate from the other," says McKinney.
And unfortunately, scenes of domestic violence are far too common. "Last year we served over a thousand women and men due to domestic violence. We've definitely seen an increase, so it's very prevalent here in Richmond County, as well as the other nine counties we serve," explains Hall.
One of the hardest parts for Salter's family is wishing they could have done more to prevent this.
Her father says, "If you've got a daughter in a bad relationship, do something. Do something. Don't wait like I did. Because you're going to be sitting right here, and it's not a place you want to be."
Aimee with Safe Homes of Augusta says it's difficult to get someone to leave a domestic violence situation, but to not give up.
"Continue to talk to that child. Continue to talk to that neighbor or person and try to convince them to press charges, and that what they're in, they do not deserve," says Hall.
Tiffany's friend McKinney agrees, saying "Just leave. Love is not worth it. It's not love if he can put his hands on you."